Many of us went into Gameweek 37 expecting big things from Juan Mata. With 5 goals and 2 assists in the previous 4 gameweeks, Mata was in fine form going into the favourable home double against Sunderland and Hull. So where did it all go wrong?
Given a mere 65 minutes to return fantasy football points, Mata ended Gameweek 37 with just 2, leaving all of us owners a little dumbfounded. Conspiracy theorists could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps Giggsy doesn’t quite see eye to eye with the little Spaniard. Let’s take another look at this.
Giggs’ Matches in Charge:
- Norwich – Dropped from the starting lineup for the first time since his signing back in January, 12 gameweeks ago. Came on for the final 31 minutes, scoring twice in the process to secure a resounding 4-0 victory over Norwich in Giggs’ first foray into management.
- Sunderland – Restored to the starting lineup but without attacking support (Rooney was sidelined), Mata struggled to have the desired impact. Despite having to chase the game, he was subbed off on the 66th minute with Giggs deciding to throw three attackers at the Sunderland resistance in the form of Hernandez, Welbeck and Van Persie, whilst keeping the holding midfield duo of Carrick and Fletcher on the pitch. Unsurprisingly, with only Januzaj in addition to supply the clinical pass, the breakthrough never came. Against a team parking the bus, Mata would have been key to unlocking the defence but Giggs thought otherwise.
- Hull – Mata returned to the bench and was ignored entirely for this match as Giggs favoured youth and rotation. Granted Januzaj was a threat throughout but with Mata desperate to show why he should be included in the Spain squad for the World Cup, it was a strange decision to once again bench him.
In the last few games, Giggs has definitely handled Mata in a strange fashion and we’re unlikely to ever really know why. Maybe he just wanted to give the talented midfielder a breather ahead of the World Cup, perhaps Giggs is all too aware that if they had beaten Sunderland, Europa League would’ve become a realistic proposition?
If the latter’s true, Mata’s minutes may once again be limited in the final game against Southampton. With it being at St. Mary’s, United are under no pressure to secure a result for their home fans and a win coupled with a Villa victory, would see them leapfrog Spurs into the Europa League.
With this in mind, we’d recommend switching Mata out for Gameweek 38 if you have the transfer to spare. Priced at 10m, you can bring in practically anyone, especially if you have a little saved up in the bank.
Replacements include the following:
- City Coverage – If you still have a spare City spot, we’d recommend Yaya Toure (10.5m) or David Silva (9.4m). Silva is likely to be involved in more of the attacking play for the majority of the match but as seen in the Villa game, Toure may be given more licence to roam forward as the game reaches its final stages and can do so with devastating impact.
- Liverpool Coverage – Failing the above, you could bring in a Liverpool player in the form of Gerrard (9.6m) or Sterling (6.3m). In terms of stats for the last 4 gameweeks, Sterling’s are superior and we think he just edges it over Gerrard and his potential of set pieces.
- Title challengers are the best bets but other potential transfers include Hazard (10.3m) and Arnautovic (5.1m). Hazard recently wrote on the Chelsea website how they want to finish the season on a strong note so this suggests that he’ll be restored to the starting lineup as Mourinho looks to end the season with a victory as a sign to Abramovich. Arnautovic has been in excellent form of late, justifying his inclusion in our Select XI this week and a trip to West Brom could return more points, although fellow winger Assaidi is set to miss out which will dent Stoke’s attacking potential.
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Author Credit: Richard Lam
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/67482226@N02/